Somewhere else

August 15, 2011

Top dog

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — waltersdaughter @ 3:25 pm

When Spike came to us over ten years ago, having obviously been ill-treated and in a sorry state of neglect, Sadie swiftly made it clear that she would be making no allowances for his disadvantaged upbringing. His initial attempts at establishing number one position were firmly thwarted by our feisty friend.

Spike was – and remained  for the next nine years – the underdog.

Spike and Sadie

He was happy with his lot. He asked permission of her to go out and come in,  stayed well away from her food dish, didn’t try to gain possession of the ball she was chasing, moved bed if he’d climbed into hers and she wanted it back, looked to her before making any move – always the underdog.

When we lost our old Sadie, Spike was lost too. He wouldn’t eat, he looked for her all the time and gave the appearance of being thoroughly depressed.

Gradually though, he got used to being the only dog in the household and began to enjoy life again. He was able to play rumbustiously  without being “told off”, was first in the queue for our attention and became, indeed, the centre of our attention.

So, when young Amos arrived, I think Spike was determined to establish Top Dog status without delay!

We introduced the dogs on neutral territory, on loose leads and with minimal interference. The first signs were promising, and even when we got home we were heading in the right direction.

I think Spike’s willingness to accept the young member of the pack weakened when the pup squealed with unbelievable volume and scrabbled desperately at the bars of his bedtime crate on the first night away from his brothers and sisters. Spike rolled up his bed, picked up his bedtime reading and took himself off to find our youngest;

“Room for me, Robert?”

The boys were naturally attracted to the playful and friendly puppy and Spike couldn’t fail to notice. Even in Sadie’s day he’d been the boys’ favourite, always ready for a game, ever their companion whatever they were up to. Suddenly, he had been upstaged!

I have been very careful to see that the old dog is not disturbed when he wants to rest, is fed first, spoken to first, exercised on his own and played with as much as before, but he’s not daft – he detects the excitement and interest the pup arouses in everyone, especially visitors!  Suddenly, he’s behaving like a pup himself again, anxious to please, and  picking up everything and anything that would, three weeks ago, have held no interest for him! If Amos has had hold of something, that’s what he must have at the first opportunity!

The growling and snarling for what seemed like the smallest of mistakes on the pup’s part seemed to go on for ever, but in truth, it was probably not that long. The pup has learned some respect for his elder, though he still can’t help himself sometimes!

We’re getting there. Spike now tolerates the pup trotting along at his side as we walk round the garden together. He allows the youngster to pick up a toy he has recently discarded. He gets up and walks away from his new “sibling” or just grumbles softly rather than getting cross if he’s a bit too boisterous at close quarters. They play next to one another, though not with each other yet – the pup is making more progress with the cat in that regard! They snooze happily within a few inches of each other. Spike ignores him completely if there are signs of going for a walk and he has even returned to his usual bedtime spot, in full sight of his now quiet and calm bedtime companion (though I’m sure if Amos were not safely behind bars for the night, that wouldn’t be the case!)

Amos and Spike

It would be wonderful if Spike and Amos were to become good friends; that is what I hope for, but for now, acceptance and tolerance are all I expect.

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